Matt Pauli is a cool guy. He is sweet, smart, funny. Oh, and he is a CLOWN. Like, a literal real life clown.
|You miiiight not want to call Matt if you have brick work to be done...|
Matt clowns at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He works for Healthy Humor, an organization that sends clowns into children’s hospitals around the country (full disclosure: my sweetheart also works for Healthy Humor – it is a great organization).
Anyway, recently Matt went to work at the hospital and went out of his way to park in a kind manner. I don’t think he thought of it in that way, he just thought he didn’t need to get in or out his passenger door, so why not make things easier for other people in the parking garage. Here’s how he put it, “There are two parking spaces in the garage at Johns Hopkins tightly tucked in between two concrete pillars. When I parked for my clown shift, I put my car as close to the pillar on the passenger side as I could, as I didn't need access to that door.”
There is the first kind action in this story – Matt parked considerately, leaving space for whoever decided to pull in next to him. When I asked him if he often parked that way, he explained, “…it is as much about trying to minimize the chances that someone will scrape against my car while trying to squeeze into a tight spot as it is about anything else. I have seen SUVs parked in the spaces between the columns straddling the lines to ensure that no one can attempt to park next to them. Because of the columns, the spaces are just a little more narrow than standard. I get very frustrated when I see a single car in two parking spaces. I was taught that one of the responsibilities of driving is that you have to follow all the rules. Fitting one car into one space seems like an easy one to follow and failing to do so makes a driver look not only rude but incompetent, in my mind.”
Yes Matt, that makes total sense. The rules of the road also apply to the garage, but still, many drivers do not follow them. But you did, and you went out of your way to squeeze close to the column to let another driver have a wider space. It might not have felt like you were doing anything special at the time, but honestly you were. You were being KIND, and really, isn’t that an easy thing we could all do if we took a moment to think when we pull into a parking spot?
But that isn’t the only kind thing that happened… Matt said, “When I came back at the end of my shift, I saw that someone had left a note on the door of my car. I thought, ‘Oh crap, that’s never good’. I was afraid that someone had scraped my car trying to get into the space next to me. I was ready to get very frustrated and angry. But I was mistaken in that assumption.”
LOOK AT THE NOTE SOMEONE LEFT HIM TUCKED IN THE WINDOW OF HIS CAR!
|Kind note - simple gestures like this mean a lot|
After reading only half the note, Matt really wanted to show it someone. He rushed to find his co-worker, but she was already pulling out of her space. So, as he drove home he thought about taking a photo of the note and sharing the story. Within an hour of posting it on Facebook nearly 100 people had “liked” it or commented. This simple gesture really resonated with people.
Isn’t that terrific? Someone took the time to notice, write the note, and put it on his car. And this was not just a person going grocery shopping – this was a person who was going to the hospital for a family member to get a serious treatment. Isn’t is so kind that they wrote a note of thanks? I think Matt expressed it perfectly by saying, “There are too many things that can bring us tension. I'm a little in awe that this person chose to express the release of some tension to a stranger. And that action can serve as an example to me to release some of my own tension."
|I am guessing the next time Matt parks at the hospital he will have a smile on his face remembering the blue note...|
This story shows two easy ways to be kind – things most of us could do every day if we thought about it: be a considerate parker, and leave positive notes for people. Keep a pad of post-its in your glove compartment or backpack to be ready – I dare you!
Spread a little kindness. We all know the world could use more of it.